Fishing Report - February 24, 2017

OVERVIEW - With the recent advent of warm weather, water temperatures are rising and bass and crappie are on the feed. Bass may generally be found near their normal spawning grounds, holding in deeper water adjacent and coming up on the flats to feed once the sun warms the water. Crappie are schooled up in 4-6 feet of water adjacent to cover.

POTOMAC RIVER - D.C.- Anglers fishing from the bank at Four Mile Run are reporting catching fish. Bass are holding around the bridge pilings and power stanchions. Weightless stickbaits will take the fish. Don't neglect buzzbaits or poppers, as the water here is warm enough for a topwater bite. From the weather reports, it appears that the river will be warming up this week. Blue Plains outfall is producing fish, as is the DC Dock and The Spoils.

POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Bass action below the city is fair to good. The fish are orienting to points, dropoffs and wood structure, adjacent to deeper water. Silver Buddies are still the best lure for fishing the dropoffs, although tubes and grubs are holding their own. Stick with water in the 13-18 foot range, with a little cover on the bottom. Shallow sand or gravel banks, with some grass nearby, are giving up large bass to anglers casting Rat-L-Traps and small shallow running, crayfish colored crankbaits.

OCCOQUAN RIVER - No reports this week.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - No reports this week.

BURKE LAKE - No reports this week.

POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - The area just below the discharge canal at Dickerson Power Plant is giving up smallmouth bass on topwater baits and small grubs and stickbaits for bank anglers. Lots of smallmouth are being taken by anglers using small shallow running crankbaits, small spinners and plastic grubs and tubes. Any area of the river with ledges and/or current breaking structure will show smallmouth chasing minnows. Don't neglect small white buzzbaits any time you see riffles.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - No reports this week.

SHENANDOAH RIVER - Lots of anglers out this week with few success stories.

LAKE ANNA - Plenty of anglers out. Stripers are still being caught at Dike Three on bucktails and Sassy Shads. Catfish are biting well, with some 10-12 pounders being taken this past week, along with at least one good flathead. Lots of bass are being graphed in 10-40 feet of water. The water temperature throughout the lake is in the mid-high 40's and shows signs of warming later this week. Bass catch reports have the fish taking jigs, plastics and crankbaits on main lake points and under deep docks.

LAKE ORANGE - No reports this week.

JAMES RIVER - The tidal stretch of the river is producing good numbers of trophy blue catfish, particularly around the Dutch Gap Power Plant.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Anglers at Walkers Dam are taking perch and crappie on small shad darts, gold spoons and bits of nightcrawlers. Live minnows are producing perch, crappie and a few bass. The mouths of the feeder creeks are still producing good numbers of yellow perch and bass, with an occasional catfish. Minnows are the best choice for bait. Pickerel are also active.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - No reports this week.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - No report this week.

BACK BAY - No report this week.

SUFFOLK LAKES - No reports this week.

LAKE CHESDIN - No reports this week.

BRIERY CREEK & SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - A couple of large bass were reported this past week from Briery Creek Lake. A number of fish in the 5-6 pound class were also caught and released. Crappie and pickerel action is rated good.

LAKE GASTON - Water temperatures are in the mid-high 40s, and fishing is fair. Bass are being caught in the back ends of the creeks on jigs, grubs and large, slow-rolled spinnerbaits. Topwater baits, fished in the backs of coves, are taking trophy bass. Main lake rocky points are showing some good sized bass on crankbaits. Some large catfish were caught this past week. Crappie fishing is excellent, while stripers are biting well at the mouth of Pea Hill Creek.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Some good bass are being taken on points. Fish 6-10 feet of water near rocks, using crankbaits, spinnerbaits, plastic grubs, and Carolina-rigged lizards. Crappie fishing is excellent over brushpiles and in shallows. Slow trolling with small minnows in the back ends of coves is producing well. Striper action is slowing, but fish are still being caught off major creek points on cut shad, in 8-15 feet of water.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Fishing is good for crappie, largemouth and smallmouth bass. A few trout are coming from 10-12 feet of water.

CLAYTOR LAKE - No reports on bass this week. Walleye are taking nightcrawlers with a vengeance. Crappie are biting well on live minnows. Stripers are biting well, with a number of fish over the 15 pound mark taken this week.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Average to good catches of stripers prevail, with most in the 8-14 pound class. Smallmouth bass action is good with most of the fish being taken on live shad, minnows and jig 'n pigs. Trout action has been good in the Smith River, with large, dark, weighted nymphs, big Adams and blue-winged olives being the more successful lures.

LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Stripers are being caught trolling deep-diving Cordell Redfins. Largemouth bass are being taken on jigs and crankbaits. Some walleye are being taken from the river.

LAKE MOOMAW - No report this week.

TROUT STREAMS - The Western streams are in excellent shape and should remain that way, barring any major rainstorms. Wild streams had very good reproduction last year and fly hatches are already starting. Most of the streams have been stocked throughout the state. Some of the better streams this week have been Cedar Creek, Whitetop Laurel and the Jackson River. Wet flies and gold spinners and spoons have been some of the more successful baits.